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Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde

Utilization and development of breeding potential of plant genetic resources via on farm/ in situ conservation and positioning of products in organic food retailing (ZenPGR)

Duration: 01.12.2017-30.11.2022

Project background:

We can observe an alarming decline in agrobiodiversity.  The causes include the standardisation of cultivation systems, high production standards and a strong standardisation of cultivated varieties. Hence, the genetic diversity in our farming systems is declining.

However, the genetic diversity of cultivated species is the basis with which farmers and breeders can respond to new social-ecological challenges. One approach to counteracting the loss of this genetic diversity is on-farm conservation of old or traditional varieties. The underlying concept is "conservation through use" i.e. the protection of old varieties through their marketing - which in turn requires increased demand by consumers.

Project objective:

We want to develop new breeding potentials based on the genetic diversity of old vegetable varieties that are no longer available on the European seed market. We hereby take into account the demands from different stakeholders along the value chain including consumer preferences. To support the marketing of old varieties in organic supermarkets, a suitable communication instrument for old varieties will be developed and tested in practice.

The project’s aim is to preserve old vegetable varieties on farms and make accessible to both breeders and consumers.

A detailed description of the project can be found here. [In German]

Publications and talks in reference to the project can be found here.


Project Partners


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Dieses Vorhaben wird gefördert durch das Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft aufgrund eines Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages im Rahmen des Bundesprogramms Ökologischer Landbau und anderer Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft. Projektträger ist die Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE).